Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A GARLAND TO BEVERLY - Not of This Earth

Beverly Garland, star of "Not Of This Earth," has swooped the planet. Her passing didn't quite get the attention it deserved.
Some stars had that one defining role that instantly got some attention. The recent death of an obscure actor named Paul Benedict got a lot of coverage because he had played a British twit on "The Jeffersons" for several seasons. So the headline was "Jeffersons Star dies." Veteran Hollywood stars like Yvonne de Carlo and Carolyn Jones were likewise identified as "Lily Munster" and "Morticia Addams," because their dozens and dozens of other film roles just marked them as good professional actresses.
And so it was, that the news of Beverly Garland's death only made it to the back obituary page in most newspapers, if at all. It wasn't headline news, but that doesn't diminish her achievements over fifty years and a great amount of film and TV appearances.
Her TV career took off in 1955 with an Emmy-nominated performance in "Medic," and she followed it with several seasons of "Decoy," the first TV show that starred a woman in an action role (she played an undercover cop).
She also had a continuing role as the perfect sitcom wife opposite Fred MacMurray on "My Three Sons," and later took "mom" roles; Stephanie Zimbalist's mother in "Remington Steele," Kate Jackson's in "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and Teri Hatcher's in "Lois & Clark."
As for the movies, she's best remembered as a "Scream Queen," but one who more often took up the fight, rather than shrank in fright. She aimed her rifle at the creature terrorizing the planet in "It Conquered the World," and went into the swamp after 'The Alligator People,' and she was sexy as the tough nurse who was feeding blood to the stoic alien who was "Not Of This Earth."
The former Beverly Fessenden married and divorced actor Richard Garland, but found an enduring marriage in 1960 with the unlikely-named Fillmore Crank. Crank was a real estate developer, and the couple built a hotel (named after Beverly) in 1972, and while she continued her acting career, she was secure with her hotel business, her marriage, and her two children. The hotel would often hold memorabilia conventions and for a little fun and profit, she'd join in and set up a table to autograph a Twilight Zone card or an 8x10.
She had a great sense of humor, warm recollections of her co-workers, enjoyed those crazy B-movies she made, and knew the business inside and out...which means, as you can see from her varied roles, that she could be tender or tough...and remain beloved and respected.
A suite from "Not Of This Earth," in full stereo:
Main Title - The Eyes Have It - Rabid Blood - End Title

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